Category Archives: Uncategorized

Recording Britain

War inspires artists,or rather requires artists, to produce propaganda, and many governments have used war artists to record a different take on what is going on to newscasts and documentary films.  Usually this is strident, but on other occasions much … Continue reading

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Peter Smithers: Plantsman, Politician & Floral Pornographer

Sir Peter Smithers [1913-2006] was an intelligence officer, a Tory politician, diplomat and above all a great gardener. “I regard gardening and planting as the other half of life, a counterpoint to the rough and tumble of politics,” he wrote. During his … Continue reading

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Hulne Priory

Sometimes you visit a historic house or garden and think to yourself…. I could live here. Sometimes you have second thoughts and add …if only it wasn’t so remote or inhospitable a setting.  That was certainly my reactions on visiting Hulne … Continue reading

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Sussex by La Manche?

Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens are one of the great combos of design history.  Their names automically trip off the tongue in the same breath,  and they created a whole series of magificant houses and gardens all across the Britain. … Continue reading

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The Sky Garden

The creation of a new public garden should be a cause for celebration, perhaps in these days of austerity,  even amazement. When it’s in the very heart of the City of London then the amazement should be unconfined.  So what … Continue reading

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The Vegetable Sermon

Thomas Fairchild, the 18thc London gardener and subject of a recent post, was more than just a great London nurseryman and striver for professional unity and strength, he was also highly  inquisitive – or what his contemporaries would have called … Continue reading

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From yangtao to zespri…5th time lucky

If you are a regular reader of this blog you may well be expecting a follow-upto last week’s post about Thomas Fairchild.  Unfortunately I have had technical problems  but should appear next week.  Instead… Our parks and gardens in Britain … Continue reading

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Thomas Fairchild

Thomas Fairchild was one of the greatest horticulturists of the 18thc. But his contribution was not confined to his own age but extends right up to today. That might sound a bit over the top – and perhaps it is – … Continue reading

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“Doubtles God could have made a better berry…”

After last week’s post about the early history of strawberries its time to look at how the various wild species were transformed into garden and commercial varieties by an 18thc botanist and a handful of 19thc nurserymen.       … Continue reading

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Saints, Sinners, Sex and Strawberries…

Strawberries are quintessentially English. Or so you’d think. But actually they’re not. Although there are indigenous European strawberries the ones we eat are hybrids derived from a species from New England and another from Chile  introduced surreptitiously into France in … Continue reading

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